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Wilder's 40 not enough, Broncos drop 3rd straight

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Wilder Notches Career-High 40 Points in Loss to Toledo

Wilder is the first WMU player since 1987 to score at least 40 points

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – On a night in which senior guard Thomas Wilder went “wild” with a career-high 40 points, a layup with two seconds to tie the game didn’t find the bottom of the net as Western Michigan men’s basketball fell to Toledo, 85-81 on Tuesday night inside University Arena.

Wilder went to the free-throw line with nine seconds left and the Broncos trailing by three. After making the first, Wilder intentionally missed the second free-throw that found its way out of bounds after going off a Toledo defender.

Off the inbound with 7.4 seconds left, the senior guard drove to the left side of the hoop and got off a contested lay-up that didn’t fall as WMU dropped its third straight contest.

The Broncos are now 11-9 overall and 3-4 in Mid-American Conference play. WMU ends its season-long three-game home stand on Saturday, Jan. 27 against Northern Illinois.

Wilder scored a career-high 40 points on 11-of-24 shooting from the field and went a staggering 15-of-17 from the free-throw line. Wilder became the first Bronco to score at least 40 points since Booker James did so against Northern Illinois on Feb. 4, 1987.

The Montgomery, Ill., native also moved into second place on WMU’s all-time scoring list, passing Bronco legend Manny Newsome. Wilder now has 1,810 career points, 1,035 of which have come in MAC play alone.

Junior Seth Dugan accumulated 25 minutes off the bench for the Broncos, the most minutes Dugan has played since Nov. 13. The seven-foot junior collected seven points and was tied for the team-high with nine rebounds. Fellow junior Josh Davis was the other Bronco to score in double figures, notching 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field. Davis matched Dugan with nine rebounds.

WMU had a season-low four turnovers while forcing Toledo to commit nine. The Broncos shot 37.5 percent from the field compared to UT’s 46.2 percent while WMU went a staggering 27-of-34 from the free-throw line. From beyond the three-point line the Broncos had just six three’s compared to UT’s 13.

Toledo was led by Tre’Shaun Fletcher’s 22 points as the Rockets stay atop the MAC West standings with a record of 14-6 and 6-1 in league play.

In the first half it was a back and forth battle as WMU held on to a slim two-point lead just five minutes into the game. The brown and gold jumped out to their largest lead of seven at the halfway point of the first half, thanks to a 7-0 run with five points coming from sophomore Reggie Jones.

Toledo regained the lead just four minutes later after embarking on a 14-4 run. Western Michigan once again responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 36-36 with two minutes left in the half. The Rockets made six of their final eight shots in the first half to take a 43-41 lead into halftime.

The Rockets lead grew to nine at the 11-minute mark of the second half as WMU missed its next 11 shots and was held scoreless from the field for nearly 10 minutes. The Broncos took their first lead of the night at the 4:23 mark as Wilder knocked down back-to-back three’s to bring the nearly 2,100 fans in attendance to their feet. UT stormed back after WMU missed its next five shots to take a six-point lead with 1:30 remaining.

After trading free-throws, a lay-up and a foul by Dugan cut the Rocket lead to one before UT made two free-throws at the other end to make it a three-point game with just over ten seconds left. Wilder was then fouled and sent to the line where he made 1-of-2 before missing the contested left-handed lay-up at the end.

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